Showing posts with label Observation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Observation. Show all posts

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Words to annoy pedants with inconcise English


Ironic conflicting road signs
There are many ways English doesn't follow precise scientific style definitions.  Some English-speakers are annoyed by some of the inconsistencies and disorder of English words.  There are even some who take their annoyance out on others who don't see such a problem.  In this, there seems to be a movement of sorts that tries to bring some sort of hierarchical order to English words.  When people defy this attempt at order, they sometimes find themselves being attacked for their word choices.

I've talked about the phrase begs the question in a previous article.  Use of this phrase will trigger attacks by pedants.  There are specific words that elicit similar literary venom.  At the top of the list is ironical.

Ironical irony


There are many people that sincerely believe ironical is not a word, and that only ironic should be used in cases where irony is an adjective.  They will actually make fun of people that use the word ironical correctly.  I've used the term myself in an ironic sense, only to trigger people who don't understand the irony of being opposed to the use of the word ironical, and the double-irony that ironical is actually a real word, and the triple-irony that I used the word to make fun of something else (namely, being pedantic).

There was an episode on Seinfeld, where the character Seinfeld confidently declares there is no such word ironical.  I don't know if this started the hatred of the word, but it certainly popularized that hatred.

Another ironic fact about ironical is that it actually has a more concise definition than ironic.  Ironic has three distinct definitions, where ironical has two related definitions.

The word irony itself is also the subject to derision.  The definition of irony includes something being incongruous.  Yet, using irony in this manner can trigger pendants into criticising you.

Number game


Another example of people trying to bring order to disorder of the English language lies in the alternative terms for numbers.  Namely, couple, few, dozen, etc.  But, that's not good enough for some.  In some schools, kids are taught that there is a concise progression to these terms, where couple = 2, several = 3 and few = 4.

If you look up several in the dictionary, you'll find a variety of definitions that can vary between dictionaries.  Some dictionaries say that several means "more than 2 or 3", while others say it means "more than a few".  However, in all cases, several represents an "indefinitely small number".

If you look up few in the dictionary, you'll find that few doesn't actually represent any particular number at all in most definitions.  It doesn't mean "3 or 4" or just "4".  It simply means an "indefinitely small number", similar to several.

I've even heard some claim that the word some has a defined number of 2 or more, when in fact, some can refer to any number, large or small, including 1 or 1,000,000.

Orientation


Another word I've seen trigger people is orientate.  Orientate and orient both mean the same thing as verbs in most cases.  But, orient is also a noun.  Some people prefer to say orientate to identify the word as a verb since orientate has no noun meaning.  In other words, it's actually more concise to use the word orientate when talking about taking an action that will change the orientation of a thing.

Inflamed much?


Is it wrong to use the word inflammable when flammable means exactly the same thing?  Well, they both have the same definition, but for different reasons.  Root word for flammable is flame.  Flame is a noun.  However, inflame is the root word of inflammable.  Inflame is a verb.  And, inflammation is a noun with a completely different meaning than flame.  The word flammation is obsolete.  It meant to cause something to be set on fire.  What's the other word for that?  Oh, that's right, inflame.  So, technically, flammable should be the word we stop using if we were to choose between it and inflammable.  I wonder who would be inflamed by that?

What are some other words that bug someone you know?



Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Is it really Frankenstein's Monster?

Frankenstein comicIs the term really "Frankenstein's Monster" rather than just "Frankenstein" when talking about the monster?  How often has the term "Frankenstein's Monster" really appeared anywhere?   Why is there confusion about the monster's name?  Well, that's because he isn't actually given a proper name in the original story by Mary Shelley.

Without much context, a quick search on Google ngram reveals that the term "Frankenstein's Monster" does indeed show up in literature.  However, going back to 1800 finds that the term really didn't get started until well after 1870. Beyond that, the term wasn't really in use until the 1960's. Just for reference, the Frankenstein book was originally published in 1818.


So, what do we get when we compare the usage of the term "Frankenstein's Monster" with usage of just the name "Frankenstein"?


Well, usage of "Frankenstein" does occur well before 1818.  That makes sense since it is a real surname.  However, taking pre-1818 use of the name as noise, there is still substantial use of the term "Frankenstein" from 1818 and on.  "Frankenstein" appears so often that it literally relegates the use of "Frankenstein's Monster" to well below that of background noise.  Usage of "Frankenstein's Monster" is less than a blip, even nowadays.

Beyond that, is the distinction between the mad scientist and his monster really all that important, namewise?  If we count the monster as the scientist's child in a manner of speaking, the monster would carry the scientist's surname anyway.  Both the monster and the scientist carry the name "Frankenstein".  Maybe instead of trying to impose a ill-accepted term like "Frankenstein's Monster", we simply use the term "Dr. Frankenstein" for the mad scientist and "Frankenstein" for the monster.


"Dr. Frankenstein" appears orders-of-magnitude more often than "Frankenstein's Monster".  And, it's a bit more of a blip when compared to just "Frankenstein".



Friday, July 29, 2016

Trouble with Wikileaks emails from DNC: as far as I can tell, no "election manipulation" is actually in the emails

Anyone can go to the Wikileaks page and peruse through the DNC leaked emails.

You know what I've seen no one do? Look through the emails and talk about any actual evidence of election manipulation.  I've seen journalist use rather dicey innuendo regarding email content, but not much else.

Most of emails are just reports.  What conversations I've seen are just people expressing their opinions and/or making strategies in support of those opinions and desires (like how best to get certain points across to their constituents).  I've not seen anyone showing anything from the emails about rigging the primaries.

The party insiders are supposed to be neutral by their own party rules, but I don't really care about DNC or any party's rules.  I'm not a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Greenie, etc.  Even if I were, I still wouldn't care because I understand that people are people.  We Americans all have the rights to our own opinions, and the rights to pursue our own interests.  What would've suprized me?  Seeing every person in the DNC expressing complete neutrality regarding who is going to represent their party in the General Election.

The DNC rules aren't laws of the land. The only person that needs to be upset, maybe, is Sanders since he was working under one set of rules, and others where not.  In the end, it still just people expressing their opinions and trying to work towards goals they feel are best for their interests.  None of this has anything to do with me, and none of this is in anyway a "manipulation" of elections.

If someone can dig up something that shows election rigging, then we have a story, as well as an actual crime.  Maybe it is buried somewhere deep in the emails.   I've not see it.  I'd be interested to see if something like that pops up.   The fact that no journalist have dug it up suggests that it's just not there.

At this point, after looking through the emails myself, I'm forming the opinion that anyone that uses the terms "manipulate" or "rigged" in reference to the primary elections based on these emails is being dishonest or honestly doesn't know what they are talking about (which is still a form of dishonesty).

I'm also now of the opinion that Julian Assange, who has made several incendiary statements regarding the content of these emails, is full of nonsense.  What little good he did in the distant past is now been cancelled out by his modern behavior.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Killing of the Real-time Strategy game

Real time strategy (RTS) game is often defined by what it is not, rather than what it is.  When looking up real time strategy game, you'll often find it described as a strategy game that is not turned-based.1  I find this tendency as funny.  Normally, something is defined by its characteristics, not the lack thereof.  A real time strategy game is a strategy game played in real time (hence the name) between two or more opposing teams.  Elements of real time strategy games typically include fighting units used for attack, harvesting units used to gather resources, structures of various functions, terrains of various properties that aid or reduce defense, unit spawning, hidden map areas until explored (fog of war), etc.

Generally, real time strategy games allow the player to control position of units on a field of play (map) with various types of terrain. Units can be assigned to act on specified targets.  For example, harvesting units can be assigned to collect resources at a specific location on the map.  Another example, fighting units can be assigned to attack (cause damage) on specified opponent's units.  Typically, units without specified targets will act autonomously in how they attack nearby opposing units or collect nearby resources.

One of the first real time strategy games is The Ancient Art of War, which was initially released in 1984.  I played this game for many hours.  I even also designed many of my own levels for this game.  Many games have followed.  Dune II is often considered the break-thru title that popularized real time strategy.  Prior to online gaming, many releases of real time strategy games supported diverse game-play possibilities.

An alternate viewpoint about real time strategy games can be found in the article What is a real-time strategy game? An exploration and definition.

Currently, real-time strategy games are looking like the proverbial red-headed step child of gaming. Fairly few RTS are being made any more (for a variety of reasons, but that is a topic for another article perhaps) and they tend not to sell particularly well, nor do most of them hold on to viable communities for considerable periods of time...
The author of this article laments that real time strategy games have not been particularly common or successful in recent years.

I found another article, Did the multiplayer online battle arena kill real-time strategy, that claims to explain why real time strategy games aren't be developed anymore, from a perspective of a Blizzard fan.  In this article, the cause is passively blamed on the popularization of massive multiplayer (MMO) online games.  I think this author is wrong.  He references events long after real time strategy games began to falter.  However, the popularization of online gaming is related to the demise of the real time strategy genre, it wasn't related to MMO's, such as World of Warcraft.

Real time strategy games seemed to be an excellent fit for online gaming.  Instead of being pitted against the limited AI, players are able to play against other humans.  However, instead of valuing the challenge of playing against humans with various strategies, a vocal set of players didn't want other humans to use other types of winning strategies against them. They wanted to limit all human players to the same strategies that they chose for themselves.

Developers unfortunately listened to these vocal users too much and reduced real time strategy games down to frantic rushes to resources and frantic rushes on opponent's bases with very repetitive build order of units and structures.  Instead of adding capabilities to increase the number of possible strategies (to better match the real world), developers reduced game play down to focus on one strategy.  The games were still tactical in how you faced units against each other, but they lost all sense of strategy.  With reduced game play possibilities, developers lost their ability to be innovative and bring in new inspiration into the subsequent real time strategy games.  Without the ability to expand playable strategies of real time strategy games, the genre has atrophied.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Begs the question is the idiom that you aren't using wrong, but some think you do

Are you begging the question?  What is begging a question?  Well, it depends.  There are two different terms that are very similar, but have very different uses.  The first is beg the question fallacy.  This is the traditional use of the term. This is a type of fallacy where a premise includes the claim or assumption that its conclusion is true.  (This is covered in some brief detail at Fallacy: Begging the Question.)

For example, "All cats are evil, otherwise you would not see cats do evil things."

The premise of this statement is that cats are evil, and the justification is that you see cats do evil things.  The statement forms a circular argument.

But, there's another common use of the term that often appears as , "begs the question", as in, "your statement begs the question of who will do this work".  It means that there is an obvious or ignored question that arises from a statement.

There are grammarians and logicians that will argue that this is somehow the wrong use of the term, such as the website begthequesiton.info (which dedicates itself to this topic).  Ironically, these individuals often employ logical fallacies to disregard the modern usage of the term.  There are people that seem gleefully unaware of how English works.  Common usage is correct usage. Dictionaries now list the modern usage on equal weight as the logical fallacy definition.  See idioms area on freedictionary.com.

There is often a claim that using the phrase in the modern sense is somehow confusing (see some of these claims on QuickAndDirty.com by Grammar Girl). However, common usage is so prevalent, there is no confusion as to when the term is being used one way or another.  If someone wishes to distinguish between the logical fallacy and the assertion of an obvious/ignored question, then they do so with context, just as they would for the use of any other common terms with multiple meanings.  This begs the question, why is denial of the validity of the modern definition so important to some people?

Monday, February 16, 2015

I'm missed the SNL 40th Year anniversary, but Twitter hasn't

This is nuts. I don't think I've seen this before.  Right now, the top 5 trending hashtags on Twitter are SNL related.  More specifically, they are related to the 40th Anniversary of SNL.


Tuesday, February 03, 2015

If the universe is a simulation...

If the universe is a simulation, as some have suggested, then there really are gods who are some sort of software coders in the actual universe within which our simulated universe was created.  But then, the question is, who are those coders?  Are they also within a simulation in some greater universe?  Are all universes simulations without an origin universe?  If so, of which are we simulations?

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Old Perry Mason show becomes reality for Cops

What's up with all these Perry Mason style Grand Jury hearings being used to acquit police officers?  The latest case in New York is just nuts, where the accused officer was even allowed to testify, just like in the old Perry Mason show.  How are these Prosecutors allowing any defense at all during the hearing, let alone 2 hours of testimony by the accused without cross-examination (as in the Ferguson case)?  The cops are not being acquitted because of following the process. They are being acquitted because the Prosecutors are gaming the system to support the accused officers.  If a regular citizen is pulled up in front of a grand jury, they cannot present a case, they cannot challenge the presented evidence and they certainly don't get to testify for two hours without cross-examination.  Looks like it's time for other accused people to demand equal protection under the law, for equal treatment to these officers are getting during Grand Jury trails.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Quick view of the Bible's anti-"pro-life" stand

In the case of abortion, the bible isn't clear at all. What is does say is that the fetus/unborn/still birth (however translated by the various attempts), is worthless and never experiences anything at all. This is not one of those "therefore" attempts to get the bible to say something that it doesn't. This is actually what the bible says. No deduction or interpretation needed. In fact, the bible considers this as such a fundamental matter of fact, the bible uses it as justification to espouse a whole other point. Then, there's the law that allows parents to request to have their children (presumably all the way into adulthood) killed just because that cannot handle them. Oh, yeah, there is that one law that treats the accidental killing of an unborn by someone other than the husband in a completely civil matter...not murder all at, but rather a small fine paid to the husband, on par with what we would pay for a traffic fine these days. The presumes that it is indeed the husband's right to end the pregnancy himself, since he is treated at the owner of it, much as he would have to right to kill his sheep for the next meal. Here's the best part of all, the bible does in fact actually mention abortion directly! And you know what? The bible not only doesn't ban abortion (nor call the act murder), but the bible actually provides rites (the procedure) for how abortions should be conducted. The bible is completely conflicted on this whole idea of "abortion", especially when someone tries to falsely argue that the bible somehow forbids them.